Visual Identity Politics and Remix Society



More than a simple fake or rip-off, a dupe world/mindset/culture is a way to trick the system

De Volkskrant columnist Lisa Bouyeure introduced me to the phenomenon of ‘dupe‘, a term that is used and popularised on TikTok and other social media.
More than a simple fake or rip-off, a dupe world/mindset/culture is a way to trick the system, i.e. expensive designer brands. Fake is cool and something appears to be high fashion, without buying the real brands. Real and original have become systems to disrupt.

In the light of remix society this is potentially interesting; the dupe is a copy, a rip-off, but as a strategy it is a disruption of a (capitalist/ consumerist) system. Could dupe be a 21c interpretation of the détournement?


Urban Dictionary: Dupe 1. n. A duplicate (rarely) v. To duplicate something; 2. To deliberately confuse or scam someone

From Jeans and a tea cup:
“A dupe is an item that has qualities or similarities to a designer item but doesn’t copy logos or trademarked features. A dupe should be easily distinguishable compared to the “real thing”. Dupes give off the same vibe as a designer item but it’s easy to tell that it’s not. Dupes are also sold at popular retail sites like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc., and generally, are not illegal.

A counterfeit or “fake” is an item that copies trademarked details and logos to pass itself off as the real thing. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s a fake. If it looks exactly like the designer version but it costs a fraction of the price – it’s probably a counterfeit. And counterfeits are ILLEGAL.”

From Collins Dictionary: dupe
1. TRANSITIVE VERB If a person dupes you, they trick you into doing something or into believing something which is not true. …a plot to dupe stamp collectors into buying fake rarities.
2. COUNTABLE NOUN A dupe is someone who is tricked by someone else. He was accused of being a dupe of the communists.